28. May 2009

Army threatens war over Gono removal

The country’s security chiefs have taken the current political fight over the reappointment of Gideon Gono a step further, threatening to take up arms to prevent the removal of the Reserve Bank Governor from his post.

Robert Mugabe on Monday declared that Gono, his money-man for many years, will retain his job despite the political deadlock that has been created with the MDC over Gono’s position. The MDC has been campaigning to have Gono removed as head of the central bank because his reappointment by Mugabe was a violation of the terms of the Global Political Agreement. Furthermore, Gono’s reputation for fuelling hyperinflation, stealing from private bank accounts and funding the goings-on of Mugabe’s murderous regime, has seen an understandable reluctance from foreign donors to trust financial aid being poured into a corrupt banking system.

The political deadlock has forced the MDC to call on the guarantors of the agreement that formed the unity government, to intervene. But while the process of getting SADC involved continues, the country’s security and military heads have added to the tensions by threatening to go to war if Gono is removed. According to the state run Herald newspaper, Air Vice Marshal Henry Muchena said that Zimbabwe’s defence forces were supporting Gono, and were willing to go to war to defend him. Muchena was quoted as saying that the army would not allow anyone to remove Gono from his post, as it would be the same as “negating the struggle for independence.”

The Air Vice Marshal was speaking at the burial of Gono’s brother on Monday in Buhera. Also at the ceremony was Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who reportedly told mourners that by demanding the removal of Gono the MDC is in effect demanding the ouster of Mugabe. Chinamasa also reportedly said ZANU PF would pull out of the coalition with the MDC, if Gono is removed.

Political commentator Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa that neither threat by the army nor by ZANU PF should stop the MDC from campaigning to have Gono removed. He argued that while a military coup would be disastrous for Zimbabwe, ZANU PF will not allow such action to take place, regardless of their own threats to pull out of the government. Makumbe explained that a coup would see the country being cut off from SADC, the AU and the international community, and added that ZANU PF will not run the risk of losing the potential to attract much needed foreign investment. (SW Radio Africa news)

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